Monday, June 29, 2009

Screw the fish. We want all the water.

Strolling down Golden Gate Ave. earlier today, I came upon an obviously-staged-for-TV protest outside the Federal Building. I walked right by Mark Matthews from Channel 7, actually.

What was the protest about, you ask? Water.

I know you can't read the signs in this picture, but they say things like "People are more important than fish!" and "ESA puts fish ahead of people." They're obviously referring to the recent changes made to the allocation of Delta water done to help preserve fish populations. The allocations done under Bush were pretty much all done to help out Big Farming Interests (i.e., Big Donors) and fish populations were being decimated. The new changes restore a little balance to the system and the farmers are MAD MAD MAD.

Now, I don't have the time to get into a complete rundown on the history of water allocation in California, but you should read Cadillac Desert and learn about how and why it came about that you and I as taxpayers are essentially paying wealthy businessmen to grow rice in the middle of the desert by subsidizing their water.

So now the allocation is slightly changed to keep the salmon population from disappearing, and you farmers are mad about that? How about this: Get the fuck over it.

No question that agriculture is an important part of the California economy. But it's also only TWO PERCENT of the economy. 2%.

That 2% of the economy uses EIGHTY PERCENT OF THE WATER. That's right. But these guys have the gall to say that 80% isn't enough to support their 2% share of the economy. They want it all. And I guess you salmon fishermen out there can just go straight to hell. Unbelievable.

My brief encounter with a whole lot of lesbians

Even though I've lived in SF for almost 20 years now, I've never been to a Pride parade. That has nothing to do with the gays at all and a lot to do with the fact that for most of those 20 years, I was never been up before noon on a Sunday. Still didn't go this year, although I got up yesterday at about 10:45. That's progress!!!

I did, however, have the occasion to go to the Dyke March on Saturday, mostly due to the fact that Olu lives about a half a block away from the parade route on 18th and was barbequeing some ribs and goat and so I went over there to hang out and drink some beers and check it out.

Pretty amazing. Had to be a few thousand women. Here's a crappy cell phone picture I took:

Check out all those people on the roof of that building at the corner of 18th and Guerrero! One of the signs says "My gym teacher was a dyke," which is probably true for a lot of people.

Anyway, it was kind of awesome and a really warm day and there were a lot of very attractive women marching AND I'M NOT OBJECTIFYING ANYONE I'M JUST SAYING and then we all repaired back to Olu's and drank a lot more and so forth.

The Wife and I had made all these grand plans for yesterday but we realized at about 11 am that they all involved going downtown or by Civic Center, two areas you don't want to go near on the day of the Pride parade. So we hung around the house and watched movies and ordered Japanese food instead. That's a good Sunday.

P.S. I bet the title of this post is going to lead to all sorts of new Google hits.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Here's some (mostly) Michael Jackson-free content about a hypnotizing owl

When you go to Twitpic to look at a photo someone's posted on Twitter, you see these ads on the side of the page. No big deal; everyone's gotta make their dime somehow. But this one is so mysterious and confusing to me:


Second, I love the badly-translated-into-English vibe of the copy. What in the fuck could "The owl controls the brightness by surroundings" possibly mean? I mean, that doesn't begin to make grammatical sense. I guess it could be that the owl controls the brightness by surrounding something, but that doesn't really make sense. Or maybe the owl is next to something called "surroundings," and there he controls the brightness. Whatever. It's just fucking weird and I love it. LG is going to hypnotize us all with this owl.

I don't really have anything to say about Michael Jackson dying that somebody else isn't going to say or hasn't already said. I was never a huge fan, but I have certainly whiteboy-danced to "Billie Jean."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

South Carolina gets its governor back, but in slightly worse condition

I just have to pause here for a moment and talk about how much I fucking love the carazy-ass disappearing Governor of South Carolina story. He's out of the office! He's at the beach house! He's hiking the fucking Appalachian Trail! No wait, he's in Argentina banging his "dear, dear friend"!!! Awesome!

You know why this story is so great? Because there are only two possible explanations for why the governor of a state (not a really great state, take my work for it, but a state just that same) would act in such a bizarre and incomprehensible manner: (1) he's on drugs, or (2) he's totally batshit crazy. Now, I tend to believe it's the latter, since you kind of already have to be half-insane to get into politics in the first place.

But seriously, how could you think, as the governor of a state, you could just drop off the face of the Earth for a week to get some strange and no one would fucking notice? Maybe if you're homeless or J. D. Salinger or something, but when you're the governor of a state (even a state like South Carolina - kidding, S.C.!) you kind of have to expect that someone might wonder just where the fuck you are after about a day and a half.

SIDE NOTE: Yeah, it's gay marriage that everyone should be worried about. Is there any politician out there who can NOT cheat?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Weekend in review, plus the dog gets up at 5:00 a.m. and decides everyone else should get up too

I got 4 hours of sleep last night, so that's just fucking great. Woke up at 4:30 a.m. and was just about to fall back asleep when the dog started walking around and whining and stuff. Now, I know he just needed to go out and pee, but there is no fucking way I'm going to get in the habit of getting up in the middle of the night whenever my dog thinks he'd like to take a leak. So I just laid there and listened to him whine.

"Let the dog out," The Wife said. Then she went back to sleep.

I ended up the victor in this epic battle of wills. Never did get back to sleep, but I got up at 6 and took him for a walk.

"He just needed to go to the restroom," The Wife said. I pictured the dog in a little tiny bathroom with white tile floors and a little mini dog urinal.

"Why are you laughing?" she asked. Anyway, I told the dog not to make a habit of it.

We had a Big Suburban Domestic Day yesterday, which consisted of going to Bed Bath & Beyond in Colma and buying house stuff like a salad spinner and new bathmats and blah blah blah and we also went to Home Depot and BevMo and bought $108 worth of alcohol because even if you're on a Big Suburban Domestic Day, you can't hide who you really are.

What else? Oh, Saturday night I went to see White Rabbits at the Independent. Good things about this show: (1) The band was great and put on a fantastic show; (2) It didn't appear to have sold out, which means it wasn't as crushingly packed as some shows get; and (3) It was over by around midnight and so Stoney and I had time to cab over to Lucky 13 and meet up with The Wife and The Sister and The Sister's friend and The Sister's friend's boyfriend and have some drinks and then try to tell a French guy who wanted to go to a club how to get to Mighty, which was the first place that came to mind.

Tonight's The Wife's Night to get semi-drunk with a bunch of chicks book club.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Wah. I've got "social anxiety disorder" and can't play baseball with my friends. Wah.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Detroit Tigers altered their rotation and the middle of their lineup Thursday, placing left-hander Dontrelle Willis on the 15-day disabled list with an anxiety disorder and benching slumping slugger Magglio Ordonez indefinitely.

(Blah blah blah Dontrelle's problems are not just mechanical blah blah)

Willis went on the DL hours before an interleague game against the Cardinals, who activated Khalil Greene from the 15-day disabled list for social anxiety disorder. Greene was not in the lineup with the team planning to ease him back into competition.

Remember when ballplayers were rugged tough guys who'd play a doubleheader, then chase skirts and get into fights until 4 a.m.?

Now they're delicate posies who suffer from social anxiety disorder and have to stay in their rooms and paste stickers in their My Little Pony diaries lest they come into contact with another human being. Fuck.

I guess I'm against chain stores, but an In-N-Out Burger place near my house would be good

A couple of things got me thinking recently about how cities change and evolve and how people react to said change and evolution.

(Brief digression #1: Yeah, I know this post already sounds kinda boring, but stick with me. Maybe it's not so bad. Although, I grant you, no one's going to throw up or get laid in this post, so you may have to dial back expectations just a little.)

I was at Zeitgeist last night with Stoney and he mentioned how much the place had changed over the years and yeah, that certainly is true. When I first started going there in the mid-90's it was definitely more of a biker bar, and had a definite edge that it lacks now. Then I moved away to Santa Cruz for a couple of years (about which the less said the better but UGH) and when I came back it was pretty much a hipster/bike messenger hangout. Now it's fairly mixed, but I'll just say that last night I was sitting across from a guy in a fleece vest and a goatee and at the bar I saw a guy in a visor wearing flip flops. So yeah, maybe not the same. I mean, I know someone who was present once when the bartender kicked a girl out for wearing patchouli, so if they gave the Visor Guy a pass, that tells you something.

(Brief digression #2: I recently read that humans are the only animals that use the same opening for breathing and eating. Like other animals can eat and swallow and everything and breathe at the same time. That's why we can talk and they can't. And why we can choke to death. I mention this because I just aspirated a bunch of water and coughed it all up and that shows you that even highly developed humans like myself still fuck up the breathing/swallowing thing.)

Stoney said: "I think I realized it changed when Marina girls started having birthday parties here."

But hey, that's life. Places change. You can't encase Zeitgeist in amber with all the bike messengers trapped inside. That's just the way things go, plus they'd all suffocate.

A while back there was a huge to-do when American Apparel announced that it was going to open a store on Valencia Street in the Mission here in SF. People who live in the Mission - well, maybe a particular kind of people who live in the Mission - objected strongly because (I think) American Apparel is a big chain and they didn't want a big chain on Valencia Street, which currently features lots of locally-owned boutiques and shops and restaurants and cutesy little stores and stuff. And they won! No American Apparel. (The space, incidentally, is still an empty storefront.)

I'm kind of torn. On the one hand, I'm all for preserving the distinctive character of neighborhoods and so forth. I mean, chain stores have pretty much taken over to the extent that if you got dropped into almost any town in America, you wouldn't know where you were, since all Jiffy Lubes and Applebees look about the same. So I'm all for reasonable restrictions on chain stores.

On the other hand, like I said about Zeitgeist, trying to preserve a neighborhood in amber is a losing battle. A hundred years ago, the Mission was a predominantly Irish neighborhood. Now it's predominantly Hispanic. (BTW, one interesting note - I didn't notice any opposition from the Hispanic community to the American Apparel store, and they're the majority in the neighborhood. Just saying.) Who knows what it'll be in another hundred years?

ANYWAY, I'm not sure there's any good answer to this dilemma. For now, there are a lot of empty storefronts on Valencia, and that sucks, but I also don't want to see a Crate and Barrel next door to the pirate store at 826 Valencia, so what the fuck do I know.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Yes, I actually am retarded enough to lock myself out of my own house two days in a row

Any idiot can lock himself out of his own house. It takes a special kind of idiot to do it TWO FUCKING DAYS IN A ROW.

As you may have guessed by now, I am that idiot.

It happened the first time on Monday. Let me first explain that there are 2 entrances to my house - the regular front door and a side security gate that leads down a little alley to my backyard and back door. So Monday I had already come home from work, walked the dog, etc., and then put a baked noodle casserole thing in the oven. I grabbed a bag of recycling and went out the side gate to put it in the bin and CLICK I heard the gate close behind me and went "OH FUCK" to myself. Sure enough, locked out.

So I went to the corner store and used their phone to try and call The Wife to see if she was on her way home and if not could SHE PLEASE MAYBE GET ON HER WAY HOME because I was wearing a t-shirt and it's starting to get cold and I also have a casserole thing in the oven that will solidify into a charcoal-like brick of ruined food if I don't get in the house sometime soon. No answer. Which leads to a whole separate thing about how she never answers her cell phone but let's just forget about that for now.

I alternated between sitting on the front stoop looking dejected (while, BTW, the dog barked incessantly, thinking I was a potential burglar or what have you) and walking down the block to the train stop to see if she'd get off each train as it arrived like some pathetic kid waiting for his absentee father. I was in the sitting-on-stoop-looking-dejected phase when it hit me that I knew a way to break in.

Now I'm obviously not going to detail how to do this, but I'll just say it involves balancing on a wobbly trash can and hoisting yourself up a great height and if you're under about 6'2", there's no way you could do it so don't even try. The upshot of all this is that I made it back inside and the casserole was saved and when The Wife got home about 10 minutes later I yelled at her for not answering her cell phone and she looked at me perplexed about why I was yelling at her about this.

So we ended up laughing about the whole thing and she said, "Well, you'll never do that again!" which is what any normal person would think except I did it again THE VERY NEXT DAY.

Let's fast-forward to yesterday afternoon. Come home from work, toss my keys on the table, greet the dog who, as usual, is OVERJOYED TO SEE YOU and CAN'T BELIEVE YOU CAME HOME AGAIN YAY YAY YAY YAY and is ready for a walk. So I leash him up and grab a poop bag and walk out the door and pull it shut behind me and . . .


So I went ahead and walked the dog secure in the knowledge that at least this time I knew how to get in. Got home and once again executed the Break In Maneuver which was a little more difficult because of various things I don't want to get into but I do want to say that at this point I'm (a) relieved that the neighbors - who can see this whole operation if they look out their windows - haven't called the cops and (b) kinda pissed the neighbors haven't called the cops. HEY, SOMEONE'S BREAKING INTO MY HOUSE HERE! LITTLE HELP, PLEASE!

The Wife says I need to have a key on a little string around my neck like a retarded kid. HA! I say.

Friday, June 12, 2009

We take our show on the road and confuse the natives of the Turks and Caicos

You know what's more boring than listening to someone drone on and on about their vacation? NOTHING. So I'm going to keep this semi-mercifully short. Then on Monday we can get back to baseball and stupidity like normal.

As you may or may not know, after New York my child bride and I departed these friendly shores for the much odder and maybe not as friendly Turks and Caicos Islands. Now, the islands are undeniably beautiful, but customer service in the Caribbean is like sauerkraut or democracy - they've heard of it, but they're not quite sure how to do it.

So just by way of example, after 2 semi-long flights we arrive in T&C and after an odd van/cab ride in which the driver deputized one of the passengers to collect money from all the other passengers, then got mad when people didn't have exact change, then blasted reggae the whole way, making normal conversation impossible, we arrive at the resort and are "greeted" by two women at the front desk who are clearly pissed off to have to be greeting guests at 9:00 p.m. I gathered later from talking to other people that "Caribbean service" is sort of known for being maybe not up to North American standards but still, after coming from New York, where everybody was falling over themselves to be friendly and help out and everything, it was kind of a shock.

Once you get used to it, though, it's not so bad and some people are actually friendly and cheerful. We thought the bartender at the hotel bar hated us, too, until we realized that his knowledge of English was limited to "pina colada" and "make mine a double" and he wasn't an asshole, he just couldn't understand a word we were saying. So that explains the blank stare and the failure to engage in conversation.

I don't want to get into a whole sociological analysis here too, but there is a kinda weird dynamic created when every single employee everywhere you go is black and 99% of the customer base is white.

Now, yeah, I know, count on me to find the cloud in every silver lining, but if I couldn't bitch about it, it didn't happen, you know? In the end, ANYWAY, we had a really great time, which consisted of lying on the beach and then having some drinks and then going out to eat and then drinking some more and then going to bed.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

You don't have to get married to go on a 2-week vacation, but it's a convenient excuse that no one can make you feel bad about

So yeah, I totally got married.

This is actually a picture from the night of the rehearsal dinner but I sort of love this picture and you get the idea. The tent was in my Dad's backyard.

The rehearsal dinner was notable for the fact that everyone got pretty drunk, especially The Sister's boyfriend and Phil the Irish DJ, who between the two of them polished off about a half a gallon of Jameson. I mean, are you kidding me?

The wedding itself was perfectly nice and Super Hot Irish Girlfriend looked awesome and all that stuff. There was a slight hitch in the proceedings when our officiant, who claimed to have done "thousands" of weddings, started reading someone else's vows in the middle. Really? That's funny, I don't remember writing "Let us pray." Anyway, I guess it's all still legal and stuff.

Now we're in New York and having an awesome time and everything except that SHIG is maybe a little tired from lack of sleep and let me assure you that dragging a tired SHIG through the Metropolitan Museum of Art at 9:30 a.m. on a Tuesday is maybe not the best way to start off a new marriage.

I have a couple of other observations about NYC:

(1) The whole New-Yorkers-are-rude canard is totally false. Everyone is perfectly nice. Maybe even nicer than SF. Is this just Manhattan or is everyone in NY nice?

(2) WHAT THE FUCK is up with the peds walking against red lights? I thought it was bad in SF, but here peeps have taken it to a whole new level by actually walking in front of cars. Carazy. But now I'm doing it too, just to fit in.

(3) Buddakan was really good. It's one of those sceney kind of places where you expect the food to be an afterthought, but every dish we had was awesome. I could have that Chinese sausage fried rice every day. And the lobster and shrimp chow fun? Oh fuck yes.

(4) If you live somewhere like SF, then NYC doesn't seem expensive at all. We had breakfast with my nephew and his wife at Balthazar yesterday and I was all "$14 for an omelette and potatoes? Seems right to me!" I could see this possible surprising someone from, say, Amarillo, Texas.

Off to Turks & Caicos tomorrow. I don't know what the Internet situation will be and I'll be too tired and drunk to type anyway, so I don't know the next time you'll hear from me. It's amazing I even posted this.

ONE FINAL NOTE: SHIG (who shall remain SHIG until further notice, despite our change in status) and I both wrote a little something for San Francisco Love Story and it's up there today, so go check that out for EVEN! MORE! BONUS! CONTENT! You should totally be reading SFLS anyway.

That's it. I've gotta go walk around some more. Last day in NYC. SHIG is out shopping. We agreed it would be better to split up today than to go shopping together, which would consist of me sighing and staring at her REALLY HARD while she holds clothes up.